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Citizens in an Olympic ticket frenzy
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Different kinds of ticket-buyers

A range of interesting items were in view - tents, umbrellas, chairs, poker games. Tired but excited ticket-buyers equipped with water and food held on to their places in the queue, hoping to secure an Olympic ticket. Some were sound asleep, some were playing cards and some were chatting happily about the Beijing Olympics.

"I've been here since last night, but look at the length of the queue – there are just so many people", a lady told us.

About five minutes later, people who had succeeded in buying tickets emerge from the venue. They were immediately surrounded by an excited crowd.

"I got here the day before yesterday at 4 PM – I was the second person in the queue", said a thick-set boy to the throng around him. 'I'm almost exhausted now."

A white-haired senior citizen attracted a lot of attention too. "I'm 72 years old. I started to queue for tickets with my wife and son the day before yesterday. Things got too tough for my wife, and my son had to take her home. But I stuck it out all the way, and now I've got two tickets for the Spain v. Greece basketball match."

Asked why he didn't buy tickets for China's matches, he said "All the tickets for China's matches are sold out. But I'm a big basketball fan – it doesn't matter to me which match I see."

Another woman who managed to get hold of tickets revealed that tickets for the men's matches were going fast and there were not many left. But tickets for women's matches were not selling quite so quickly.

For some in the queue, the objective was not to buy tickets to go to the event themselves, but to sell them on to others. A man on a cell phone was heard to say "1200 yuan for a 100 yuan ticket! Ok – deal done!"

Most of those waiting were optimistic about getting tickets, while some came along purely to try their luck. "It will be nice if I can get hold of a ticket, but it doesn't really matter if I'm not successful", said a young man. "I can still watch the game on TV."

(China.org.cn July 25, 2008)

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